General Athletic Training Program Information



Additional Links

Michigan State University Graduate School Application:

Department of Kinesiology:

Department of Kinesiology: Masters Degree Program.

Masters Degree Admission Requirements: Department of Kinesiology -

Masters Degree in Athletic Training Requirements:

Department of Kinesiology Information Packet for Graduate Programs:

Department of Kinesiology MS Application Process:

Michigan State Univeristy Graduate School:


National governing bodies (i.e., CAATE: in the field of Athletic Training have established that future athletic trainers will be required to have a Master's of Athletic Training to enter the profession. Therefore, all Bachelors Degree of Athletic Training must transition to Masters' level programs by 2022. This transition is being made in response to changes within the athletic training profession and in order to maintain a higher-quality educational experience for athletic training students. Michigan State University is pleased to immediately move forward with this transition to ensure the best professional preparation of our students. The final class of Bachelor's Degree candidates will begin as freshmen in the Fall Semester of 2017. If you are applying to Michigan State University for the Fall Semester of 2018, the option available will be pursuing the Bachelor's of Science Degree in Kinesiology which will best prepare you to be a competitive applicant to the Master's Degree Program in Athletic Training. More informatin in regards to this process will be upcoming. If you have any questions regarding this transition, please contact the Athletic Training Program Director, Dr. Tracey Covassin at

 Additional Links

NATA Degree Change: Frequently Asked Questions Files

Athletic Training Professional Career Information Files

CAATE: Becoming an Athletic Trainer in the Future/ Professional Career Change Information Files

Athletic Training Program Admission Application Form (.pdf)

Michigan State University Athletic Training Student Handbook (.pdf)



The role of an athletic trainer is often misunderstood. Certified athletic trainers (National Athletic Trainers Association) are health care professionals who specialize in preventing, recognizing, managing and rehabilitating injuries that result from physical activity. The Certified Athletic Trainer works under the direction of a licensed physician, and in cooperation with other allied health care providers, parents, guardians, and athletic administrators.

The Board of Certification Practice Analysis Task Force reached a consensus on the five major practice domains appropriately expected of newly certified Athletic Trainers:

I. Injury and Illness Prevention and Wellness Promotion

II. Examination, Assessment, and Diagnosis

III. Immediate and Emergency Care

IV. Therapeutic Intervention

V. Healthcare Administration and Professional Responsibility


Although the roles of athletic and personal trainers intersect at times, they are two very different professions, which serve very different roles within their respective professions. In most states Certified Athletic Trainers must obtain a license to practice and the nationally recognized ATC® credential requires at least a bachelors degree from an accredited program, extensive clinical experience under the supervision of credentialed professional, and pass a very rigorous national Board of Certification (BOC) examination.

Personal trainers, on the other hand, are fitness professionals and NOT healthcare professionals. There is little or no regulation of their professional practice and there are very few requirements to obtain a personal training credential (some of which can be obtained with as little as a weekend course). The only similarity between athletic trainers and personal trainers is that both work with athletes, but we do very different jobs. If you are interested in becoming a personal trainer, you should consider majoring in exercise science.


NATA Professional Settings Files

There are a various number of settings that athletic trainers have the opportunity to work in. These various settings provide an opportunity to explore different paths within athletic training. The different settings include:

Secondary Schools: Public and private secondary schools offer special job opportunities for ATCs. Parents and administrators are discovering the benefits a certified athletic trainer can offer in preventing and caring for injuries.

Colleges and Universities: Certified athletic trainers in colleges generally fall into two categories: Athletic department and staff athletic trainer. A majority of colleges and universities now require a master's degree for employment.

Combination Teacher/Athletic Trainer: Certified athletic trainers teach classes during the day and provide athletic training services during the afternoon and evenings. Employment in this setting remains stable with little turnover.

Professional Sports: In this setting, certified athletic trainers work only one sport, such as football, baseball, basketball, hockey or soccer. Although teams operate only a few months per year, ATCs work year-round conditioning and rehabilitating athletes. Fewer jobs are available in this practice setting due to the limited number of teams.

Sports Medicine Clinics: This growing setting provides certified athletic trainers the opportunity to work with a number of different health care professionals and a diverse patient population. In addition to athletic injury rehabilitation, many clinics provide athletic training services for secondary schools.

Industrial Setting: Athletic trainers working in industrial settings are skilled in the implementation of injury prevention programs, ergonomic assessment, work-readiness conditioning, health and wellness programming, on-site physical rehabilitation, case management and return to work programs.

Performing Arts: Certified athletic trainers have been working with performing artists for more than 25 years. World-renowned entertainment venues and performing arts groups such as Cirque du Soleil, Disney World and Disneyland, Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Cincinnati Ballet and Blue Man Group utilize an athletic training program to keep their performers in peak condition.



There are many opportunities to expand career options through the acquisition of a bachelor's degree in athletic training. Many health related professions such as physical therapy, physician assistant, chiropractics, and occupational therapy are post-graduate degree programs. Therefore, it is vital that one obtains a bachelor's degree and also completes the necessary pre-requisite courses to be eligible for the application process. Many of the pre-requisite courses needed for these programs are fulfilled within the athletic training degree, thus making this obligation less of a burden on potential applicants. Below is a brief description of each career above.


Physician assistants (PA) are health care professionals licensed, or in the case of those employed by the federal government they are credentialed, to practice medicine with physician supervision. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, PAs conduct physical exams, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, counsel on preventive health care, assist in surgery, and write prescriptions. Within the physician-PA relationship, physician assistants exercise autonomy in medical decision making and provide a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. PA's practice may also include education, research, and administrative services. Additional information may be obtained from the American Academy of Physician Assistants at


Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the geriatric population. PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Additional information may be obtained from the American Physical Therapists Association at


Occupational therapists (OTs) help people improve their ability to perform tasks in their daily living and working environments. They work with individuals who have conditions that are mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling. They also help them to develop, recover, or maintain daily living and work skills. Additional information may be obtained at


The modern practice of medicine occurs at the many interfaces between the art of healing and various sciences. Medicine is directly connected to the health sciences and biomedicine. Broadly speaking, the term 'Medicine' today refers to the fields of clinical medicine, medical research and surgery, thereby covering the challenges of disease and injury. Additional information may be obtained at


Developed 130 years ago by physician A.T. Still, osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest growing healthcare professions in the U.S. and brings a unique philosophy to traditional medicine. With a strong emphasis on the inter-relationship of the body's nerves, muscles, bones and organs, doctors of osteopathic medicine, or D.O.s, apply the philosophy of treating the whole person to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Additional information may be obtained at


Chiropractors, also known as doctors of chiropractic or chiropractic physicians, diagnose and treat patients whose health problems are associated with the body's muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems, especially the spine. Chiropractors believe that interference with these systems impairs the body's normal functions and lowers its resistance to disease. They also hold that spinal or vertebral dysfunction alters many important body functions by affecting the nervous system and that skeletal imbalance through joint or articular dysfunction, especially in the spine, can cause pain. Additional information ay be obtained from the International Chiropractic Association at


Athletic Training Educational Objectives

    To provide an opportunity for each student to acquire knowledge and develop skills as specified in the document Athletic Training Clinical Competencies. The areas of focus are:

    NATA Educational Competencies (.pdf)

  • Evidence Based Practice
  • Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Clinical Examination and Diagnosis
  • Acute Care of Injury and Illness
  • Therapeutic Interventions
  • Psychosocial Strategies and Referral
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Professional Development and Responsibility

Professional Development and Responsibilities

  • To provide students with opportunities to integrate didactic knowledge into clinical practice under supervised situations and environments.
  • To continually strive for the highest quality in instruction, clinical experiences, equipment, and student work.
  • To expose students to other allied health care professionals involved with the sports medicine team.
  • To establish and promote standards of conduct that is consistent with the NATA Code of Ethics.


The Athletic Training Program at Michigan State University is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE). We recently recieved a ten year accredidation after the 2009 accredidation review. Our upcoming CAATE site visit will take place during the Fall, 2018.


General Contact Information

Director, Athletic Training Program
Tracey Covassin Ph.D., ATC
Department of Kinesiology
105 IM Sport Circle
East Lansing MI 48824

Clinical Coordinator, Athletic Training Program
Thomas J. Mackowiak PhD, ATC, CES
Department of Kinesiology/Athletics
105 IM Sports Circle
East Lansing MI 48824


Program Admission v. University Admission

Admission to the Athletic Training Major is separate from admission to Michigan State University. As a prospective student, you must first apply to Michigan State University ( and be accepted by the University.

When you apply for admission to MSU, you should select Athletic Training as your intended major. If accepted by MSU, you will be admitted to the College of Education as a Pre-Athletic Training major. After admission to the University, you will complete specific pre-requisite courses as outlined on our program admissions page and then apply for admission to the major in February. Admission to the major is competitive and selective.



Please review the Student Accounts cost calculator on the office of the Michigan State University Controller website. This website is located at:

Athletic Training ProgramSpecific Costs (.pdf)

Program Admissions Policy

Individuals seeking admission to the Undergraduate Athletic Training Program must be formally admitted.

A. To be eligible for admission the student must be enrolled as an MSU student, complete an application, and submit required materials. A university cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, by the end of the fall semester prior to the time of application. The application and list of required materials are available on the web sites for the Department of Kinesiology and the MSU Athletic Training Program.

B. Admission to the Athletic Training Major is competitive and selective whereby a limited number of students are admitted each Spring Semester. Students meeting all selection (application) criteria may be denied admission to this program. Space availability in the formal curriculum is limited to an average of 20-25 new students each academic year.

C. The decision regarding final admission is based on the following criteria:

1. Completed Athletic Training Program Application.
2. Completion of KIN 125 (First Aid and Personal Safety), KIN 126 (Introduction to Athletic Training), KIN 127 (Clinical Observation in Athletic Training), KIN 320 (Pathology of Sports Injuries), KIN 227 (Clinical Rotations in AT, section 001/002), KIN 227 (Clinical Rotations in AT, section 301), and KIN 228 (Clinical Rotations in AT) with a minimum average GPA of 2.5 for the 12 credits.
3. University cumulative GPA of 2.5 or above.
4. A minimum grade of 2.0 in each of the following classes: CEM 141, MTH 103, PHY 231, PSL 250, KIN 216
5. Essay expressing reasons for selecting Athletic Training.
6. Three personal references.
7. Interview with Athletic Training Admissions Board.
8. Space availability in the formal clinical curriculum sites

D. The deadline for completed admission applications is February 1 of each year.

E. Athletic Training Program Admission Application Form (.pdf)

F. Athletic Training Sample Program of Study (.pdf)


Athletic Training Program Transfer Policies

A. Transfer students who wish to apply for the Undergraduate Athletic Training Education Program will follow the same published procedures and guidelines as on-campus students.

B. The Athletic Training Admission Board reviews preexisting credits in Athletic Training and First Aid and identify remedial programs when necessary.

C. The transfer student who is admitted to the Undergraduate Athletic Program will complete all remaining requirements.



Undergraduate/Graduate Athletic Training Program
105 IM Circle
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824